We’ll all face times in our life when our health isn’t at its best. Whether that’s having a cold, breaking a leg, or looking down the barrel of a life-changing illness or condition. And some things will require you to book a consultation with a doctor. 

But with the NHS under strain over backed-up waiting lists and the tumultuous state of COVID-19 admissions, are there some conditions that we can deal with on our own? And how do we know which ones are serious and which aren’t?

Thankfully, here’s a non-exhaustive list of what needs a professional’s attention. And what doesn’t. However, it should be said that if in doubt, make an appointment with your GP or call 111. Because it’s better to be safe than sorry. 

Image by Polina Tankilevitch via Pexels

See A Doctor

It’s surprising how many people avoid seeing a doctor when serious symptoms appear. Whether that’s from a bad experience or news about medical malpractice making us nervous when it seems doctors can cause severe damage. Whatever the reason, some symptoms need a professional touch and will require you to get over your fear sharpish. 

  • An Obvious Emergency

It should go without saying that acute chest or abdominal pain, loss of speech or vision, trouble breathing, or extreme bleeding are emergencies. And they should see you going straight to A&E. 

  • Lumps And Bumps

If you notice any new, hard, or growing lumps or bumps on your body, you should go to a doctor. They may be completely harmless, but there’s no sense in you taking the chance if they’re not. 

  • Unexplained Changes

Any unexplained changes should see you booking an appointment with your GP. Things like unexplained weight loss, blackouts, changes in bowel or bladder habits mean you need a professional opinion. 

  • Cognitive Changes

If you’re persistently anxious, depressed, hearing voices, or having delusions, then you should go to the doctor. 

  • Continuing Symptoms

Some symptoms like colds and flu can be fine, to begin with. But if they continue for a long time, you should see a doctor to make sure nothing more serious is lurking below the surface. 

  • Troublesome Physical Symptoms

Any mole changes or pus from cuts should be looked at. And if you’re experiencing muscle weakness or tiredness, doctors will need to screen you. Things like a B12 deficiency can be palmed off as tiredness but will have lasting consequences if they’re not handled quickly and effectively. 

Find A Pharmacist

Pharmacists aren’t utilised nearly enough. They can help with an absolute plethora of minor conditions. Visiting them will have your condition sorted and ease the stress on the NHS. So what conditions can they help with?

  • Skin conditions like acne or eczema. 
  • Cold and flu-like symptoms such as coughs, headaches, ear pain, nasal congestion, and sore throats can be dealt with.
  • Minor cuts and bruises.
  • Annoying but non-life-threatening bowel changes like diarrhoea, constipation, indigestion, and haemorrhoids. 
  • Ulcers and cold sores are easily treated by pharmacists.
  • Along with period pain and thrush in both men and women.

This isn’t a comprehensive list so if you have any other minor conditions or symptoms, then head to your local pharmacist before your doctor. If they can’t help, they’ll point you in the right direction.

Do It Yourself

There are times when you can look after yourself. So if you’re feeling under the weather, doing a few things yourself before heading to the doctor could have you getting better without professional help.

Make sure you’re getting plenty of rest, plenty of water, and that you’re taking over-the-counter pain medication when you need it (as directed by the packet instructions). You can look after yourself on the daily with some self-care. Make sure you’re eating healthily and looking after your needs. Then hopefully, you’ll be able to keep doctor visits to a minimum. 

Remember, if there’s no improvement after 48 hours or your temp exceeds 39C, then you should see a doctor.